Harbhajan to lead Punjab Ranji side

Harbhajan Singh, the India offspinner, has been named Punjab's captain for the upcoming Ranji season. He has been out of the Indian Test side for more than a year, but returned to the Twenty20 squad for the World T20 last month.

Harbhajan flew back home after sustaining an injury during the tour of England last year. He led Mumbai Indians to the Champions League trophy, proof of his ability to perform in T20, but picked up a shin injury around the time he was omitted from India's squad for Australia.

That injury also curtailed his Ranji season to three matches, when as Punjab captain he only took two wickets for 204 runs. He also led Punjab in the one-day Vijay Hazare tournament and the Twenty20 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.

This year, he signed a county contract with Essex, where he played steadily if not spectacularly (13 first-class wickets at 33).

His presence in the side will be a boost to Punjab, who are without a head coach after Vikram Rathour vacated the post to become a national selector.

Punjab Ranji squad: Harbhajan singh (capt), Mandeep Singh (vice-capt), Karan Goel, Jeevanjot Singh, Yuvraj Singh, Uday Kaul, Mayank Sidhana, Amitoze Singh, Rahul Sharma, Siddarth Kaul, Manpreet Gony, Sandeep Sharma, Gurkirat Mann, Bipul Sharma and Rajwinder Singh